Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: Making Healthy Choices this Holiday Season, from the Harvard Health Letter

Using the glycemic index to help choose healthful carbs can keep blood sugar on an even keel and make you feel full longer.

  • Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail a friend
Glycemic index categories can be very helpful for people trying to choose a healthy diet. -- Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Boston, MA (PRWEB) November 02, 2012

Many of the traditional foods of the holiday season—fresh bread, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pie—are packed with carbohydrates. Some carbs cause blood sugar to soar more than others. The glycemic index is a helpful tool for choosing good carbs during the holidays and every day, reports the November 2012 Harvard Health Letter.

Blood sugar and insulin levels rise every time you eat something containing carbohydrates. How high they rise, and how fast, depends on the food. White rice has almost the same effect as eating pure sugar—a quick, high spike in blood sugar and insulin followed by an equally fast drop. Brown rice and other whole grains have slower, smaller effects.

The glycemic index captures these changes by rating the effect of a specific amount of a food on blood sugar compared with the same amount of pure glucose. The lower the glycemic index, the slower the rise in blood sugar. "Glycemic index categories can be very helpful for people trying to choose a healthy diet," says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Over the past three decades, researchers have measured the glycemic index of several thousand foods. You can find a list of the glycemic index values of 100 foods on the Harvard Health website.

Read the full-length article: "Choosing good carbs with the glycemic index"

Also in the November 2012 Harvard Health Letter:

  •     New Pap smear guidelines
  •     Take action against high blood pressure
  •     Alternative treatments for knee pain: effective or snake oil?

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $16 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/health or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Media: Contact Natalie Ramm at hhpmedia (at) hms.harvard (dot) edu for a complimentary copy of the newsletter, or to receive our press releases directly.


Contact

  • Natalie Ramm
    Harvard Health Publications
    617-432-2676
    Email